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By Zach Marion

Think back to a time in your life when you tried something new, something that would challenge you physically, mentally and emotionally. For me that time was just a matter of 16 months ago. I, like many of you, decided to take the challenge and enter the world of endurance training.

I married in 2006 to an amazing wife and wonderful cook. There is truly something to be said about being fat and happy. After three years of being married I had decided that even though I was still the 215 lbs I had always been, it was not the same looking 200+ lbs I was in my glory days of high school sports.

I started “running” to lose some weight and get back into shape. It was more like light jogging and never lasted more than a mile or so. It was pure torture to me! My lungs burned, my legs hurt and I was mentally beat up every time I hit the road. I needed some encouragement. Something that would motivate me to not only train but to push myself even harder. After some encouragement from a good friend, I was convinced that a novice triathlon was a great goal to set. I took up the challenge and registered for the West Valley Novice Triathlon.

Two months of training, 30 lbs and a new wardrobe later I completed my first endurance event. My eyes welled as I crossed the finish line with my wife and family cheering me through. I was overcome by the success that I had seen during my training and competing in the event. It may have begun as a way to get back into shape but after completing the event and receiving first in my age group, my reasons for running had changed.

Running to get into shape is a great reason to start training. What keeps me running now is the feeling you get from accomplishing the next goal. The emotion that comes from completing something that just months ago seemed impossible. The great thing about running is that there are events for every level which means there is always a new goal to be set. Once you have reached the goal of completing a 5k, there is a 10k, half marathon, marathon, ultra marathon and even 100 mile events for extremely brave and daring. Even after you have completed the distances, there is always the challenge of trying to setting a new personal record.

Although new goals keep me motivated to push myself, I run for many reasons. I run to stay healthy and extend my life quality. I run to keep myself mentally stable. Running is proven to increase endorphin and anandamide levels within the body which leads to the feeling known as “runners high”. This feeling increases mind function and clarity, which we all need every now and again.

There’s always the noble reason of running for a cause. Many events were formed as a way to increase awareness or raise funds for charities. I know personally several friends who have run for friends or family members who have fallen ill to disease or are suffering trails in their life. I recently ran the Layton Half Marathon this year on behalf of my grandfather who recently suffered a stroke and nothing has ever encouraged me more than this opportunity has.

The point is that there are many reasons to run. Whether it’s the competition you seek, a goal you set or you just want to be healthy. Find your reason that keeps you going… there’s plenty to choose from!

Best Health!

-Zac

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